Ryde Social Heritage Group research the social history of the citizens of Ryde, Isle of Wight. Documenting their lives, businesses and burial transcriptions.
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Report from the members’ meeting 11 July 2015

RSHG Meeting July 2015
RSHG Meeting July 2015

At our meeting on 11 July 2015 32 members attended and three visitors and there were apologies from 10 Members.

Welcome & Chairperson’s Report – Janette Gregson
Janette welcomed everyone to the meeting and said it was lovely to be back again after missing the last two meetings. She explained that after the business of the meeting we were looking forward to a presentation on WW1 and the Home Front by Mark Earp.

May was a busy month for the group and it started with two exhibitions in one week one at Binstead Methodist Church and the other for the Isle of Wight Family History Society Conference and AGM at Northwood house.

Also in May Kate Macdonell and Derek Warman were on Radio Solent: Kate spoke about our group and Derek talked about Michael Maybrick, one of our ‘famous’ residents.

There was a group outing enjoyed by 26 Members and guests to Briddlesford Lodge Farm in Wootton including a talk by Mrs Judi Griffin on the development of the farm, a visit to the Hop Kiln Heritage Centre and this was followed by a cream tea in the Bluebell Restaurant.

On 10 June Year 5 from Greenmount Primary School visited Ryde Cemetery for the day and had lessons on map reading, a cross hunt, discussions on Victorian symbolism. During lunch break the children were able to look at the exhibitions in the chapels and after lunch they all went off to follow the First World War Trail. Many of them found the stories of those who died and the families they left behind very sad.

In June Janette, gave guided cemetery walks based on WW1 to two different groups. The first was to members of the Vectis Military Historical Association and a few days later the same walk/talk was to a group of ladies from the Bembridge Windmill WI. The weather was warm and sunny on both evenings and the walks were enjoyed by both groups.

Around 150 people enjoyed the Regency Ryde weekend at Ryde Cemetery. The exhibitions included Regency Ryde and the Battle of Waterloo. In Regency times parties, balls, the theatre and strolling along the new promenade pier were the order of the day. New streets were laid out and the wealthy built large marine residences with fantastic views of The Solent.

There was also a ‘Maritime Matters’ display about smuggling and the recruitment of customs and coastguard officers to put an end to it Many ships captains and admirals made Ryde their home, preferring it to the busy, densely populated, sprawling town of Portsmouth.

A collection of books on loan from Ryde Library gave visitors additional material to pore over alongside the new display sheets prepared for this exhibition.

Fashions were an important part of Regency life and our mannequin was appropriately dressed as a Jane Austen style character with a book to read and a basket of needlework, popular pastimes for ladies of the period.

The weather stayed perfect for the weekend and a really enjoyable time was had by all.

Janette said there were a couple more items of news to pass on to the group.

The first was that Arthur, Jill and Janette were going to London on Wednesday 15 July to attend the annual conference and AGM of the Community Archives and Heritage Group and to receive the award for the Best Website.

Janette advised that at the AGM in October she will be standing down as Chairman of the Group. She said that she never wanted to be the Chairman but was thrust into the role back in 2007 when Sally-Ann resigned from the role. However she felt that it had been good for her personally to take on the role of Chairman as it helped to build her confidence and she has enjoyed seeing the group grow and blossom in the time she has been Chairman.

Janette has faced some serious health issues for the past year, hopefully all that is behind her now and she is feeling much better, but her husband is also now unwell and as a result of this she has had to re-evaluate what and where her priorities lay.

Janette it one of the 3 founding members of the group from the time it was first set up in 2002 and since then she has given a lot of her free time to group activities. She still intends to remain a member of the group and would like to remain on the committee but she no longer feels she can give as much time as previously to group activities.

Financial Report – Arthur Williams (Treasurer)
Arthur gave the financial report showing that the group remains in a very healthy financial position. We will soon be paying a substantial amount of the money to our web designer who is currently working to further improve our already award winning website.

Cemetery Report – David Earle (Freelance Cemetery Consultant)
David gave a brief update on Ryde Cemeteries and recapped on all the work he has done as our mapping man over the years. He is intending to take things a little easier in the future but is happy to assist with guided walks and school visits when required. We are deeply indebted to all the excellent work David has done for the group and glad to hear he is not deserting us completely!

Membership Update – Kate MacDonell
Kate reported that we have had 8 new members since April and welcomed 4 of those new members at the meeting. Cheryl Moore from Texas has also joined the group as a thank for the assistance given to her by our research team. Our total paid up membership now stands at a very healthy 78.

Report on Research Group – Ann Barrett

Ann reported that recently we assisted Bereavement Services for a change, when they asked us to help with an enquiry. We soon located the grave, which had luckily been cleared, transcribed and uploaded it to the website. We found there were 9 people mentioned, and we are half way through researching each one.

Ann made a plea for help. – From time to time there are small indexing projects that could be done at home, so if anybody has an hour to spare and fancies having a go at a simple task, please do get in touch.

Report on Publications Group – Carol Strong

Carol reported that we’d had a very busy three months preparing display sheets for our exhibitions. The all new Regency Ryde weekend held in the cemetery in June has taken up most of our time, proving to be quite a challenge to find pictures to go with stories our research team uncovered. There was no photography in the period and we had to rely on drawings, engravings and paintings to tell the story.

The first week in July was Ryde Arts Festival with a concert titled ‘Our Town in Sound’ on the opening night at All Saints’ Church. It combined music, spoken word memories and sounds recorded around Ryde. We put up a display board with some of the Ryde memories we’ve collected for the evening and this display moved to the library for the Arts Festival week.

The new magazine for July focuses on Ryde within living memory – 50 years ago, the 1960s, and takes a fairly light-hearted view of some of the events and activities during the decade.

Our next exhibition will be in Ryde Library from mid August for Ryde Carnival celebrations. Carol asked members to share with us any photographs they have of Ryde Carnivals of the past.
Any Other Business – A few members expressed concern about the process for electing a new chairman at the AGM. Details about how to propose or nominate candidates will be sent to all members in due course.

John Martin, Ryde Cemetery Sexton, gave an update on 2 issues at Ryde Cemetery: the concern over dog fouling and the proposal for lowering the hedge in Arthur Street. He also suggested we might like to have an informal get together perhaps at the end of the summer, similar to our Christmas Victorian event.

Raffle and Refreshments took place.

The Home Front World War One – illustrated presentation by Mark Earp

Everyone enjoyed this very interesting talk by Mark who was, as always an excellent speaker with brand new material to share.

Next meeting – Annual General Meeting at the George St. Centre on Saturday 10 October 2015, 10.30-12.30 when membership renewals will be due.